Presentation: Engineering Culture Revived

Track: Building Great Engineering Cultures & Organizations

Location: Whittle, 3rd flr.

Duration: 5:25pm - 6:15pm

Day of week: Tuesday

Level: Intermediate

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What You’ll Learn

  1. Find out how to apply the key techniques, practices and values underpinning sustainable team-driven engineering culture.
  2. Learn how to avoid suffering the unintended consequences of a ‘top-down’ driven transformation by ensuring your team is already beating so-called ‘digital’ benchmarks.


Waves of technology innovations are sweeping through all industries now, and software development teams are finding themselves on the receiving end of exponential demands: cloud, big data, machine learning, voice- activated, IoT, yada yada! For many organisations, the fear of being left behind results in the formation of a ‘transformation project’ and before you know it the software development team is tasked with swathes of ‘new’ process techniques that 'Management Consultants' have decided define the ‘right’ culture: DevOps! Agile! Scrum! Lean! .. before you know where you are, no work is getting done at all (workshops/ meetings/ ‘hackathons’).

This session highlights the techniques software development teams can adopt for themselves to establish robust engineering culture to ‘leapfrog’ management interventions, and establish a ‘defence’ against misguided top down-driven ’transformations’: understanding the threats/ core engineering principles revived/ leading the change/ establishing a community/ crossing the tech- business divide/ leap-frogging ‘digital transformation .


What is the focus of your work as CTO at Superbet today?


We are currently building the technology capability for a new global online betting and gaming proposition. My role involves everything from establishing platform direction, new capabilities / teams, ways of working, and influencing our digital business strategy.


What's the motivation for the talk that you're giving at QCon?


I’d like to start a conversation with the community about how software development teams can embed an engineering culture to establish better ownership of the full lifecycle of what they’re building. As the scale and pace of ‘digital’ demand has swept across industries, and as many (especially large corporates) have struggled to keep up,  we’re seeing a ‘parallel universe’ of techniques/ tools and vocabularies emerge from those drafted in to help by the executive (all too often, management consultants/ analysts). These interventions impede, even defy the evolution of ‘good software’, establishing a culture completely at odds with the values behind great engineering.

Now that most organisations are focusing on software as the key to ‘digital’, it’s time for software developers to stand up and be counted – or risk being buried by waves of ‘digital transformation’ initiatives that send morale plummeting, colleagues exiting, laying waste to great teams.


Who is the core persona that you're talking to?


This is aimed at those team leaders / senior developers who are typically on the ‘front line’ of the engagement with ‘change’. There are reflections on inter-departmental considerations that would be useful to CTOs / VPs Engineering also. All these characters are probably finding themselves in many  cross-departmental meetings where all present are elbowing their way into the ‘digital’ conversation. In a sea of contradictory advice they may be wondering which way to turn (or have maybe thrown their arms up in despair at making any ratonal progress at all. This talk gives them a route out of that dead end.


What do you want someone to leave your talk with?


I’d hope that they’d benefit from some insights and techniques that give them the confidence to step forward in their workplace and take responsibility for establishing their own engineering culture, informed by the scenarios and patterns described. Rather than having to react from the ‘back foot’, this should enable them to ‘leapfrog’ clumsy management interventions by setting a clear trend of progress that drives team and organizational momentum. 

Speaker: Finbarr Joy

Group CTO @Superbet

Finbarr is Group CTO for Superbet, a new entrant into the online gaming industry. Previous to this he was Group CTO for Lebara, responsible for Product & Technology strategy, development and operations for Platform, Network, Technology Innovation & IT, across global Mobile, OTT Video, Financial Services, and IP voice/ messaging propositions.

With over 15 years’ leadership experience of technology ‘at the leading edge’, Finbarr is dedicated to helping organizations develop breakthrough business models powered by tech. His prior roles have included stints driving technology transformation at global operators such as BT, William Hill and Lebara, and he also co-founded and ran a UK-wide e-commerce software development company through the 2000’s.

Finbarr’s early experiences included two years with Netscape, as a member of the team that brought the Internet to the world, and established the enduring model for digital innovation.

Find Finbarr Joy at

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